Politics & Current Affairs

GE 2015: Manifesto Round-up

eddie memeThe madness that is Manifesto Week continues.

The traditional pre-election day dog-and-pony show, which no one should take too seriously, has underlined, yet again, just how surreal British politics has become.

The Jellyfish and his gang pleaded with business and the bosses to heed their earnest entreaties that they’d be the party of “fiscal responsibility.” Cuts would indeed continue, austerity is now a long-term tenant and those sensible Labour chaps would take every measure to calm the fears and nerves of those in the City and in the UK’s boardrooms.

At the same time The Eton Rifle’s cold class warriors asserted their intention to be the party of “working people”, a term no less sickly and patronising than Labour’s “working families.” Thatcher’s right-to-buy scheme would be extended, thirty hours per week of free childcare for three and four year olds would be on offer and Thatcher’s hideous “share-owning democracy” would be alive and well under the Tories.

Of course, we well know that only one of these parties is telling the truth and, sadly, it’s Labour. A point rather starkly made when Scottish Labour’s Jim Murphy assured voters that under Labour there would be no need for further cuts. If an end to austerity was what voters desired, well, no need to vote SNP; Labour, both its Anglo and Caledonian expressions, would sort that out for you.

The Jellyfish must surely have been aghast. Lest his prostration before the high priests of capital be in vain, boot-boy Chuka Umunna was dispatched to correct this deviation from the line. Reassuring the London bean-counters, contrary to Murphy’s increasingly desperate and plot-unravelling ravings, Labour’s Business Secretary cut Jimbo off at the knees. Umunna, a man with all the humanity and class-partisanship of an Excel spreadsheet stated firmly that cuts would continue. Before coolly, and with just the hint of a smirk, pointing out that “the leader of the Scottish Labour Party will not be in charge of the UK budget.” Only one of them is telling the truth and it certainly isn’t Murphy, who spent the following day in hiding, refusing to give any media interviews. In the unlikely event of anyone searching for a time to be sorry for Jimbo, this is about as close as it gets.

Meanwhile, the launch of the Tory manifesto gave The Eton Rifle the chance to pretend that the last five years didn’t happen. Forget the punitive, literally death-inducing, sanctions of the sick and disabled, subsistence-level wages, an entire generation of young people shut out of the housing market, rocketing numbers of food banks, soaring child poverty and full-time workers claiming more benefits than the unemployed, The Eton Rifle had a jolly wheeze in store. A reheated Thatcherism would liberate the working class and enable us all to share in the largesse naturally generated by unfettered free-market neoliberalism.

The Grubby Chancer and his Fib Dems, unquestioningly an unscrupulous and thoroughly nasty clot on an already diseased body politic, demonstrated, once more, an almost inhuman absence of shame.  Begging the electorate to allow him to continue in his role as bridesmaid, to whichever of the two vying brides ends up waltzing down the aisle to Downing Street, The Grubby Chancer was breathtaking.

He would, we were told, provide the Tories with a heart and Labour with a head, should the Fibs continue as coalition partners. A pithy sound-bite, to be sure, but one that will – please, God – gain no traction after a term spent licking Tory boots in between their periodic kicking of the poor and huddled masses.

The Green Party manifesto was met with predictable derision and hostility. After all, how outrageous to include a minimum wage that might actually lift the peasantry from economic serfdom, force the rich to shoulder some social responsibility and rid the UK of Trident. Bat-shit crazy, right?

And so to The Racist. A manifesto almost as long in the making as Guns ‘n’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy album, it was inevitable Farage’s treatise would underwhelm. What was unexpected, however, was hearing the party’s Suzanne Evans defend attacks from the right, while discussing her mob’s policy on immigration, on BBC Radio 5 Live, yesterday afternoon.

In closing, it’s a timely moment to consider Marx. Groucho, that is; not Karl. The comic genius once said that “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” Let’s leave it there…

Thanks to Eddie Truman for the meme.

Politics & Current Affairs

GE 2015: The Adventures of Baron Rockard and Other Tales

JRSeveral people are alleged to have said that art is never finished; it is merely abandoned. The natural modesty for which I’m renowned prevents me describing my own work in such terms. Nevertheless something of the essence of the phrase made itself felt, many times, during the writing of my latest book, Making Plans for Nigel: a Beginner’s Guide to Farage and UKIP.

On several occasions I deemed the book finished only to then learn of UKIP’s latest howler, scandal or, as the UK’s imperial overlords so eloquently term it, clusterfuck. All of which necessitated a hurried return to the keyboard to update the manuscript, thus ensuring it didn’t date before it had even been published. Sadly, my efforts in this regard, not unreasonably described as Herculean, were akin to King Canute’s legendary struggle with H2O. Almost by the hour new controversies broke, prompting this writer to consider the existence of a malicious deity whose sole pleasure was pushing under-pressure hacks to nervous breakdowns. All of which enables us to transition smoothly to UKIP’s current headline-grabber…

It appears that the party’s Bristol branch vice (groan) chairman John Langley (pictured above), who goes by the name of Baron Rockard (seriously), is also a porn star. As well as, variously, acting as producer, manager and casting agent within the, er, industry.

Space prevents a more detailed and serious examination of the issues thrown up by the news; the exploitation and comodification of women not least among them. However, the widely-published photograph of Baron Rockard looming over the shoulder of a trussed and gagged black woman accomplished what no amount of UKIP manifestos could; that of accurately and honestly revealing the party’s contempt for both BMEs and women. A conclusion that appears not unreasonable, given that the party’s official response to something it, apparently, already knew was that the Baron’s other career presented “no problem.”

In other news, The Jellyfish found himself under fire from The Eton Rifle’s heavier ordnance. Accused of stabbing his brother in the back by Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary then went on to declare that this would mean The Jellyfish would also stab the nation in the back by junking Trident.

Such accusations confirm several things. Firstly, the personal and spiteful nature of Fallon’s remarks rather neatly underline why the Conservatives are known as the Nasty Party. Secondly, given the historical provenance of the phrase ‘stab in the back’ – something about which it stretches credulity to imagine the highly-educated and patrician Fallon is unaware – we are provided a further glimpse of the covert anti-Semitism that seems to be running in the background where the Tories’ attacks on The Jellyfish are concerned.

Finally, the idea that The Jellyfish has any intention whatsoever of ditching Trident, no matter how many SNP MPs make it to Westminster after May 7th, is the sole province of the deluded and deranged. Continuity Labour represents the same threat to the established order as it has always done; which is to say absolutely none at all.

Any sympathy one might feel for The Jellyfish, however, is tempered somewhat by recalling the craven and opportunist manner in which he scrambled aboard the media bandwagon during the recent attempts to smear Scotland’s First Minister.

Still, to be fair, there have – finally! – been the first faint signs that the testicular fortitude which, thus far, has eluded The Jellyfish might at last be located. Admittedly, one swallow doth not a summer make and all that but there was some small satisfaction to be gained basking in the bourgeois hysteria triggered by his announcement that Labour would abolish nom-dom status for those allergic to taxation.

In conclusion it would be almost negligent to avoid commenting on the latest polls, all of which – to one degree or another – continue to point to Scottish Labour’s near-total destruction at the hands of the SNP. The latest YouGov poll extrapolated current approval ratings and showed that the SNP would take fifty-three of Scotland’s fifty-nine seats, rendering Scottish Labour all but extinct. Obviously, other polls are available etc but it cannot be doubted that the outcome is inevitable. Only the extent of the carnage remains to be seen.

It might, then, be apposite to draw The Jellyfish’s attention to a remark by one of his political ancestors; Nye Bevan’s observation that those who stand in the middle of the road will be run over.  Alas, no matter how apposite it’s now too late for Scottish Labour. ‘Hell bloody mend them’ as my late ma might have said.

Culture Politics & Current Affairs

Book Launch: Making Plans for Nigel

MakingPlans-flyerSo the new book is done and you are cordially invited to its official launch at Five Leaves Bookshop on Wednesday April 8th, 6.00pm – 7.00pm. Full details here.

Although not officially available til April 1st from the usual international online tax dodging emporiums, it’s out now from Five Leaves if you just can’t contain your excitement and wait another moment.

It’d be great to see you in Nottingham on the 8th. Immigrants, Muslims, women, breast-feeding mothers, polish plumbers, Romanians and even UKIP supporters are welcome…

Culture Politics & Current Affairs

Making Plans for Nigel : a Beginner’s Guide to Farage and UKIP

I’m delighted to announce the publication of my new book, Making Plans for Nigel : a Beginner’s Guide to Farage and UKIP, via Five Leaves Publications.

I’m chuffed to be working with Ross and Five Leaves again, following last year’s Look Back in Anger: the Miners’ Strike in Nottinghamshire – 30 Years On, on which he and his team did such a great job.

The current effort, about which not much needs to be said given the self-explanatory title, is a shorter, snappier book and is intended for the prospective UKIP voter. As I write in the introduction:

“By the time you read this the next general election will be barely a month away. This handy guide to Nigel Farage and UKIP is intended to help the undecided voter – and maybe the decided ones, too –  make an informed choice when the time comes to put that cross in that all-important little box. Given that increasing numbers of voters are shunning the voting booths – in much the same way that Michael Macintyre studiously eschews anything remotely funny in his routines – and are of the not ridiculous opinion that it doesn’t matter for whom one votes as the government always gets in, it appears likely that future administrations will be elected by fewer and fewer people.  All the more reason, then, for those potential UKIP voters to have at least a basic understanding of what they might end up with. Hence this book which looks in detail at Nigel Farage, UKIP and the party’s policies. It examines Farage’s anti-establishment rhetoric and compares that with his party’s policies and with his and his colleagues’ public pronouncements. It is a timely book because the prospect of a Tory minority government propped up by a clutch of newly-minted UKIP MPs, cannot be ruled out.”

It’s provisional publication date is April 1st, which I think is just perfect, and more info will be available soon. A special thank you to Martin Rowson for the superb cover. Makes me smile every time I look at it.


Culture Politics & Current Affairs

Way Beyond (The Sea)

clacton pic

Nursing home piss and jerking knees
Retired colonels feeling pleased
Johnny Foreigner just got told
Essex masses’ fool’s gold
Flocking, flooding over ‘ere
Send the message loud and clear
Carswell’s smug he just won
Him wot won it not The Sun
Xenophobic Eurosceptic
Noxious creed long turned septic
“Bongo bongo land” was such a laugh
Howler, clanger followed gaffe
But it’s not funny anymore
For non-white faces or the poor
Or the working toiling class
Turkeys queuing up for Christmas
Ed, you and yours can take the blame
You ought to die from burning shame
Oh what a lovely place to be
Welcome to toxic Clacton-on-Sea